Search What are you looking for?

Standing Out From AI: Why Humanizing B2B Marketing Is Key In 2023

Posted on Jan 18th, 2023
Written by Lane Ellis
  • Blog
  • B2B Marketing
  • Standing Out From AI: Why Humanizing B2B Marketing Is Key In 2023
In this article

    Ready to elevate your B2B brand?

    TopRank Marketing drives results with content, influencer, SEO & social media marketing.

    How can B2B marketers craft content that truly stands out from the growing volume of information that may be touched more by artificial intelligence (AI) than human hands?

    Faced with increasing automation from ChatGPT and other AI-infused tools, B2B marketers are seeing human touch-points taking on greater importance, as they become a key differentiator in 2023.

    When used as a tool that is only one part of a broad strategy, ChatGPT and other AI technology offer B2B marketers certain advantages — as we explored recently in “The Prompt Whisperer: ChatGPT’s Rising Reach In B2B Marketing & The AI Revolution,” however big questions and challenges arise when human elements are excluded.

    Through the lens of intelligence, relevance, and humanization, let’s take a look at some of the areas where B2B marketers can emphasize and differentiate with those human touch-points and human-to-human relationships that AI content alone can’t outdo.

    1 — Humanize By Forging New B2B Relationships

    The global market for AI is growing rapidly, and forecasts predict even greater adoption of the technology in coming years, with estimates from Technavio showing growth by $125.3 billion through 2027, with year-over-year growth in 2023 expected to rise by 20.48 percent.

    Technavio chart
    Faced with the growth of AI, savvy B2B marketers can create content that sets brands apart by focusing on people over pixels, and one great way to accentuate this is through forging new relationships.

    With distrust of brands and advertising at all time highs, human-to-human connections and networks of people are more important than ever for B2B marketers.

    Finding the time to network is also a challenge as expectations of marketers to do more with less persists, heightened by rising economic concerns. So just how can marketers create new professional connections that endure and strengthen their existing business relationships?

    With ostensibly more ways than ever to find new connections both online and off, the task can at times seem overwhelming.

    Luckily, by setting specific goals and putting a clear strategy in place to achieve them, marketers can start truly tapping into the power of building new connections and making them — along with existing ones — stand the test of time.

    We take a detailed journey of professional network expansion and look at how we can elevate both current and newfound business relationships in our “Enduring Engagement: 5 Easy Ways To Build New B2B Marketing Connections & Make Them Last.”

    2 — Level Up By Strengthening Existing B2B Relationships

    While building new relationships is a fundamental part of B2B marketing that AI can’t match, the power of strengthening and building on existing partnerships shouldn’t be overlooked.

    Some of the largest firms in the world are struggling to adapt to the warp-speed change that ChatGPT and other AI technologies have brought.

    Google recently shared new insight into its AI roadmap, in “Why we focus on AI (and to what end),” noting both the technology’s value and its challenges.

    “We believe that AI is a foundational and transformational technology that will provide compelling and helpful benefits to people and society through its capacity to assist, complement, empower, and inspire people in almost every field of human endeavor,” James Manyika, senior vice president of technology and society at Google and his team observed.

    “At the same time, we understand that AI, as a still-emerging technology, poses various and evolving complexities and risks. Our development and use of AI must address these risks. That’s why we as a company consider it an imperative to pursue AI responsibly,” Manyika added.

    Microsoft also recently announced expansion of its AI initiatives, in “General availability of Azure OpenAI Service expands access to large, advanced AI models with added enterprise benefits,” highlighting how the firm has seen its use of AI grow from initial efforts in 2016 to the onslaught seen in 2022 and into 2023.

    Microsoft chart

    B2B marketers face obstacles when waiting too long to make necessary changes that drive confidence, collaboration, and trust, sometimes postponing decisions that create legitimate change, yet by focusing on nurturing existing relationships, B2B marketers can help jump-start an otherwise stalled process.

    “In an era of reduced demand, the best sales organizations will invest more of their time nurturing existing relationships and mapping out new strategic relationships they need to build.” — Alyssa Merwin Henderson of @LinkedIn Share on X

    3 — Combining It All With B2B Influencer Marketing

    One of the best methods for incorporating more human elements in 2023 is by taking advantage of B2B influencer marketing.

    Influencer marketing has continued to emerge as a key way that B2B brands can get the most marketing bang for their buck and help recession-proof marketing strategy. U.S. organizations are expected to spend $6.16 billion on influencer marketing during 2023, climbing from the $5 billion seen during 2022, as influencer marketing has been more resilient than other forms of marketing, with influencer marketing budgets staying strong, according to recently-published forecast data from Insider Intelligence.

    eMarketer Insider Intelligence chart

    Recent analysis published in the Harvard Business Review has shown that average brand boost could reach 16.6 percent by properly utilizing influencer marketing, with influencer originality alone accounting for a 15.5 percent rise in return on investment (ROI).

    B2B marketers have indicated that influencer marketing will be among their three top priorities in the next three to five years, as 59 percent of marketing leaders noted that they considered B2B influencer marketing a priority today, and 64 percent pinpointing it as a top priority over the upcoming three to five years, according to recently-released survey data from the Association of National Advertisers (ANA).

    B2B influencer marketing helps build successful and lasting relationships, as our CEO Lee Odden explored in a fascinating podcast with Justin Levy, director of social and influencer marketing at Demandbase, in “The Impact of Building Long-Term Relationships with Influencers with Lee Odden.”

    Another way that B2B influencer marketing can take full advantage of the power to humanize is by elevating internal and executive talent.

    B2B influencer marketing can have a direct impact on building thought-leadership and executive influence, and the time to redefine influencer marketing may have arrived, as our own senior content marketing manager Joshua Nite has explored in “How to Create More Authentic Influencer-Driven Content to Attract Qualified Prospects.”

    “In our survey, over half of respondents said they included internal executives in their influencer content. Nearly half said they included their employees as well. This is a clear opportunity to create more valuable content and build your organization’s thought leadership at the same time,” Joshua observed.

    “It’s time to redefine influence. Your most valuable prospects are looking to industry leaders, practitioners and peers for advice. Your team can deliver all of the above with the right mix of influencers,” Joshua added.

    “It’s time to redefine influence. Your most valuable prospects are looking to industry leaders, practitioners and peers for advice. Your team can deliver all of the above with the right mix of influencers.” — Joshua Nite @NiteWrites Share on X

    Real Connections Increasingly Set Winning B2B Marketers Apart

    By forging new relationships, strengthening existing ones, and implementing B2B influencer marketing, marketers can take advantage of key human-made differentiators that no amount of AI-generated content can output.

    Another great way to learn more about humanizing B2B marketing is by following top industry voices, such as those professionals featured in LinkedIn’s* “Follow These 10 Rising Stars of the Marketing World in 2023,” and our own recent “25 Women Who Rocked as B2B Industry Influencers in 2022,” and be sure to check out our “B2B Influencer Marketing Program Checklist” to get started with or expand on your own B2B influencer marketing efforts.

    Crafting award-winning B2B marketing that elevates with intelligence and relevance and humanizes with authenticity takes considerable time and effort, which is why more brands are choosing to work with a top digital marketing agency such as TopRank Marketing. Reach out to learn how we can help, as we’ve done for over 20 years for businesses ranging from LinkedIn, Dell and 3M to Adobe, Oracle, and many others.

    *LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing client.